I have always loved Walmart.
Whenever I read people griping about how evil big box stores will drive out the mom and pop shops, I always add my two cents, and that is that I love mom and pop shops, but there is this thing called "supply and demand" and Mom and Pop have the same opportunity to supply what the people demand.
Now, they may not be able to beat the prices Walmart offers, but they can very well find another demand that they can supply better than Walmart. Like personalized service. Or free deliveries.
In our last small town, there was a Walmart Supercenter with a high tech pharmacy, and even though I found myself at Walmart at least once a week, I never did use the pharmacy there.
The prices may have been the cheapest in town, but we loved the mom and pop pharmacy downtown. They knew our names there. They called us whenever they got in a shipment of that gag-inducing nail polish used to coax children into quitting their thumb-sucking.
And they delivered.
That's right. They would deliver packages to our door step FOR FREE. If the doctor called in a prescription, I could expect it on my doorstep in about half an hour.
I bet you never saw Walmart do that, didja?
So, basically I like to shop around at places that give me what I want. Low prices, great return policy? Walmart. Free deliveries? Mom and Pop Pharmacy.
That's why I was in complete shock when my good ole Walmart would not allow me to return a pair of packaged, unopened Sponge Bob pajamas last week for a gift card.
Occasionally, I need to return an item to the store, and in the past if I have my receipt, they give me cash back. If I don't have the receipt and they determine that the item came from the store, I get a gift card. Nicey-nicey, right? I mean, that guarantees that I will be spending AT LEAST as much as the cost of the returned item in the store. What more could they ask for???
Well, I'll tell you.
Last week when I waited in a very long return line to get a gift card for those pajamas, for which I did not have a receipt, I was told that I had to leave the pajamas at the counter, GO TO THE LITTLE GIRLS' DEPARTMENT to get a like exchange, and come back to the very long line to make the exchange.
And I'm all "Huh?"
Last month I got a gift card in an almost identical situation. Where's my gift card?
I explained to the lady at the return register that the pajamas had been purchased at that very store the week prior and that I didn't need a single thing from the little girls' department thankyouverymuch, plus... where's my gift card???
She then informed me that they changed their return policy this time of year to keep ... you know ... certain people from ... you know ... exchanging Sponge Bob pajamas for things they shouldn't be buying. You know how some people are.
Walmart is now policing what their customers put in their buggies??? What are they going to do? Follow customers around the store??? So what if I want to get one of those plastic barrels of cheese puffs? Or an econo-can of Spaghettios? Or 10 cans of Cheese Whiz? Or some granny panties? Why does Walmart care what I exchange the pajamas for? What would Sam Walton think of this???
I tried my best to politely express the above sentiment in something other than a high-pitched, incredulous tone that only dogs can hear, and she reiterated my choice to exchange the pajamas ONLY FOR A LIKE ITEM or forget about the whole thing "AND I HOPE YOU HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS" she said a little too loudly as I picked up my ugly pajamas and turned to go. I believe she also bobbed her head and I may have mumbled, "Same to you, lady," but I totally meant it in the nicest possible way.
Since it was the Christmas season, I did what any nice homeschooling mom would have done. I steamed about it the entire way home. And the ugly pajamas mocked me from the front passenger seat. They mocked me.
And I envisioned bread lines in Russia. And mounted police officers enforcing the exchange of ugly pajamas for a like item. And check points where purchases are examined by armed guards to ensure they are appropriate items.
Okay, maybe I am overly dramatic. It's my spiritual gift.
Anyhow, when I got home I promptly looked up Walmart's return policy on their official site and printed out a handy dandy copy so that I could take it AND the Sponge Bob pajamas back to the return desk for Round Two the next time I went to town.